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Best of Montclair State Field Hockey

by Jess Liptzin

Montclair State University’s field hockey season ended this fall with a winning record and individual awards to top it all off. While the season did not end with a championship, it did end with players receiving an All-American status and looking to continue to improve next year.

Head Coach Eileen O’Reilly expressed how proud she is of the team’s continuous hard work and how fond she is of them.

“They are a tough group of girls and work really hard,” O’Reilly said. “[I] love this team and group of girls.”

Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

Junior forward/midfielder Elizabeth Cimilluca tracks down the ball.
Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

The team started off as strong as ever, going 5-0 to kick off the season. That did not last too long as key victories came later in the season achieving double-digit wins. Those wins included back-to-back shootout victories where the Red Hawks had to play their hearts out to win.

Leading the team all year was star senior goalkeeper, Nicole Andriani, who played every game in net. Andriani accumulated 118 saves boasting an incredible 86% save percentage. This earned Adriani defensive player of the week midseason after her 14th save shutout helped her team win 1-0 over York College of Pennsylvania.

“Everyone is always having each other’s backs, our confidence was always so high,” Adriani said.

The team came together, especially with the help of the senior class. Adriani went on to become a National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) All-American.

Adriani was joined by fellow teammate and junior forward/midfielder, Elizabeth Cimilluca, becoming all-region in the NFHCA South Atlantic. The two were also first-team All-New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

The Red Hawks celebrate with their goalie after winning a shootout.
Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

Senior forward/midfielder Kelly Watson and junior midfielder/defender Janell Harden were honorable mentions for these awards as well.

Freshman forward/midfielder Linsey Champa had a great first year too, as she ended the last week of the season being named NJAC rookie of the week.

Other notable stars on the team were senior forward/midfielder Maddie Freeman, senior midfielder/defender Keeley Winn, sophomore midfielder/defender Zoe Musick, junior forward/midfielder Maddie Spolarich and freshman midfielder/defender Lindsey Bicher.

Musick, Spolarich and Bicher will be back next season looking to improve after having a full starting season under their belts.

Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

Freshman midfielder/defender Lindsey Bicher takes the ball down the field.
Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

Aside from on the field, Montclair State Field Hockey dominated in the classroom as well. During the semester of play, 13 players were on the dean’s list, along with 18 players being named to the Zag Field Hockey team, which is awarded to outstanding athletes in the NFHCA for their academic excellence.

All in all, the season started off hot and ended with a win. The seniors were highlighted for their accomplishments this season with awards and gratitude. Both O’Reilly and the fans are anxious for what next season will bring.

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